Hatami began his prolific career as a photojournalist in the early 1950s covering historic events and political figures in the Middle East, such as the opening of the Suez Canal and the coronation of King Hussein of Jordan. As a freelance photographer he pursued the story of the Iranian revolution in 1979 and risked his life to document the rebellion and the intertwining of politics and religion that effected the country and region. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, in addition to documenting political events and individuals, Hatami moved on to capturing photographs of film-making and fashion. During his 50+ year career, Hatami provided many photos for magazines and newspapers around the world, including the covers of Life magazine, Paris-Match, Jours de France and fourteen covers of ELLE Magazine.
In 1962 Hatami was in Liverpool, England, where he was allowed backstage and into the dressing room of the Beatles and took legendary photographs of the Fab Four as they casually chatted and practiced prior to going onstage. In the same time period, Hatami became a close friend and photographer to Mademoiselle Coco Chanel in Paris. He recorded images of the royalty, celebrities, political and social figures as they wore Chanel fashions or attended private events.
Los Angeles became another home to Hatami in the late 60s where he was invited to movie sets to document films and photograph well known actors, such as Mia Farrow, Steve McQueen, Sophia Loren, Omar Sharif, Sharon Tate (a personal friend; Hatami later on testified in the trial against Charles Manson), Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich, Woody Allen, Jacqueline Bisset, Faye Dunaway and many others.
Hatami’s photographs have been exhibited internationally, and are in numerous private and corporate collections. The photographs are also registered with the Library of Congress.
THE BEATLES, 1962-1964
Hatami gained rare access to the Beatles in 1962, where he photographed them backstage in their dressing room before performing at the legendary venue, The Cavern, in Liverpool. Paris-Match sent him to cover the rising Beatlemania phenomenon, and he documented the Fab Four as they casually chatted and practiced, and also shot their portraits. Several other images of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show document their onstage performance and a filming break in tête à tête with their manager Brian Epstein. Within this series of photographs from the Liverpool Cavern are the earliest color images of the group. The 2012 issue of Newsweek magazine was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Beatles and Hatami's color photos are highlighted. They include John holding his black Rickenbacker guitar, Paul with his Hofner bass and George his Country Gentleman guitar.
In 1962, Hatami became a close friend and the official photographer to fashion icon Mademoiselle Coco Chanel. The notoriously private designer allowed Hatami unparalleled access to the House of Chanel, the Atelier and her private apartment. Chanel allowed him to take photos of her at work as she developed her famous designs and also during relaxed moments in Paris and abroad. Over the course of 8 years, he photographed Mlle. Chanel working on her designs, fitting models, and entertaining guests. Among the celebrities and royalty modeling Chanel fashions or attending fashion presentations are Catherine Deneuve, Marlene Dietrich, Françoise Hardy, Cyd Charisse, Romy Schneider, Annouk Aimee and many others. Hatami documented private moments with the legendary designer, showing a tender side to her personality in the final years of her life (she passed in 1971).
FILM SETS, late 1960s
In the late 60s, Hatami photographed the most prominent actors and actresses of the time. He was invited by film directors such as Jean-Luc Goddard, François Truffaut, David Lean, Roman Polanski and Charlie Chaplin to document the stars behind-the-scenes and on the set of films such as Rosemary’s Baby, Doctor Zhivago, Bullitt, The Countess of Hong Kong and many others. He explored film documentation and used cinematography to create the ‘Making of Rosemary’s Baby.’ Mia Farrow, Steve McQueen, Sophia Loren, Omar Sharif, Sharon Tate, Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, Jacqueline Bisset, Woody Allen, and Marlene Dietrich, among many others, were some of the celebrities captured by Hatami’s lens.
© Westwood Gallery NYC